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Francesco Tristano

Tistano Plays Gulda: Prelude and Fugue

24.01.2020

TRISTANO PLAYS GULDA: PRELUDE and FUGUE

FRANCESCO TRISTANO RELEASES NEW 2-TRACK EP & VIDEO TO MARK 20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FRIEDRICH GULDA’S DEATH

EP OUT JANUARY 24, 2020

MUSIC VIDEO RELEASE on JANUARY 27, 2020

Friedrich Gulda (1930–2000), the 20th anniversary of whose death falls on 27 January 2020, was one of the most revolutionary pianists of the 20th century, a maverick of the classical circuit who combined audacious, impeccable interpretations of Bach and Beethoven with an obsessive exploration of the possibilities of jazz. Francesco Tristano acknowledges a clear debt to the Austrian maestro, who had a major influence on him in terms of his understanding of the piano, recital format and music as a whole. To mark the anniversary of Gulda’s death, Tristano is paying tribute to him with a new recording of Prelude and Fugue (1965), a work that sums up the ideology, ambition and genius of a unique pianist.

Tristano explains: “27 January has been a memorable date for me ever since the year 2000. Gulda was very important to me during my teenage years – I think I was 13 when I bought my first Gulda recording. When he died, there was virtually no coverage. That may have something to do with the fact that in 1999 he issued a press release announcing his own death, at a time when he had really faded into obscurity. Then a French journalist recognised him at an airport. He had the bad luck to die just four months later, and people thought he was faking it again.

“The Prelude and Fugue is my favourite Gulda work for solo piano – I’ve known it since I was 11 or 12. My teacher in Luxembourg gave me his complete piano works – he wanted to show me that you could use old forms and structures to do something contemporary, in this case something with a real groove, with those mind-blowing jazz harmonies. I realised that tradition and the avant-garde weren’t diametrically opposed to each other, quite the contrary: traditional elements can be used to create something cutting-edge and with contemporary relevance. The model here is Bach, but he takes it to a new dimension. It’s almost like Stevie Wonder. I’d never played it in concert, but I recorded it in Tokyo last October.

In this project, Tristano has not only delved into a new interpretation of the prelude and Fugue. Together with his illustrator friend Daniel Jimenez and under the direction of the filmmaker Elena Molina, they have recorded a video clip in homage to Gulda and his rebel spirit. The piece, shot in an old textile factory in Barcelona, is inspired by the transgressive spirit and the maverick figures of Gulda and Tristano in their respective times. The director is committed to filming Tristano's interpretation of this classic work in a space that at first glance seems unnatural, but ends up merging into a symbiosis between the delicate piano lines and the industrial elements of the abandoned space. The piano notes playing with the light that filters through the broken windows create the atmosphere for the central performance of the video, performed ‘four hands’ by Francesco Tristano on the piano and Dani Jimenez with the marker pen. The realization is weaving the complicity between both artists, inviting us to participate in their exquisite hooliganism. Flashbacks, format changes and careful cinematographic underlining symbolic details allow us to immerse ourselves in this tribute to Friedrich Gulda -- an extensible tribute to all those who break the rules, pushing beyond the limits imposed on some artistic circles.

Tristano plays Gulda: Prelude and Fugue is out on all digital services on January 24, and the music video is out on January 27.

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